Why Farming is Broken (And Always Has Been)

Originally published by The Land Institute on September 27, 2017

Natural ecosystems are self-sustaining.  For at least 10,000 years, humans have disrupted those ecosystems and kept them in a continuous state of disruption in order to feed our populations. Increasingly, the scale of those agricultural disruptions threatens to permanently degrade the ecosphere upon which we depend.

Humans didn’t plan this, nor do we intend harm.  And certainly farmers and agricultural producers, along with food consumers, are caught together with other living communities and species in a food and agricultural system that has been pushed beyond its breaking point.

We believe that it doesn’t have to be this way.

Led by a team of plant breeders and ecologists working in global partnerships, we are developing new perennial crops to be grown in ecologically functional mixtures known as polycultures. Our goal is to create an agriculture that mimics many aspects of natural ecosystems in order to produce ample food and reduce the negative impacts of industrial agriculture.

From nutrient retention to carbon sequestration to weed suppression, the agriculture we are bringing to fruition promises to become a soil-forming, rather than a soil-degrading activity.

Originally published by The Land Institute on September 27, 2017